Blind gran wins light battle

Ellie Johnson can continue to enjoy the swing in her Nana's communal garden after the Council had a change of heart and let Debbie Johnson keep the swing and garden lights.
Ellie Johnson can continue to enjoy the swing in her Nana's communal garden after the Council had a change of heart and let Debbie Johnson keep the swing and garden lights.
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A blind Mansfield gran has won her battle with the council to keep solar guide lighting in a shared communal garden.

Debbie Johnson (46) was disgusted when she received a letter from Mansfield District Council ordering her to remove solar guide lighting and a small swing from her joint communal garden in August.

Ellie Johnson's thankyou letter after the Council had a change of heart and allowed her Nana, Debbie Johnson to keep a swing and garden lighting in her Maltby Road, home.

Ellie Johnson's thankyou letter after the Council had a change of heart and allowed her Nana, Debbie Johnson to keep a swing and garden lighting in her Maltby Road, home.

The letter stated that the items were an obstruction to council staff when maintaining the gardens but Ms Johnson has always upkept the garden herself.

The Maltby Road resident had the swing installed after her eyesight became too poor to take her grandaughter to the park without a guide.

She has since argued against the decision provoking the council to make a U-turn in its decision.

Ms Johnson said: “I was close to tears when I thought I had to remove the swing that my grandaughter loves.

“She is so happy that she can keep it now and has somewhere to play when she visits.”

Following the three month battle with the council including a petition from residents, the decision was revoked.

Ms Johnson has lived in the council-owned bungalows with shared garden area for three and a half years.

She is registered blind and relies on the lighting to access her garden when it is dark.

She added: “I just want to thank everyone who supported me and signed the petition.

“It has meant a lot. We had about 150 signatures in the end.”

The decision was made after it was argued that other residents had solar lighting and garden equipment in the communal area at the back of the bungalows, but Ms Johnson was the only resident to be told to remove garden furniture.

Coun Mick Colley, portfolio holder for tenancy services and special housing needs, said: “The tenant was originally asked to remove the items from the communal garden.

“Having reviewed all the facts and taken all factors into consideration, permission has now been given to allow the swing and solar lights to remain in place.”